Liverpool will be closely monitoring England and West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice at the World Cup.
What’s the news?
That’s according to Football Insider, who claims that Jurgen Klopp will be keeping a close eye on Rice in Qatar to see how he handles the big-game pressure of representing England at the World Cup.
The Anfield side have been linked with the midfielder since before the summer transfer window, with West Ham slapping a £150m price tag on the 23-year-old.
With his contract expiring in 2024, this price could tumble, especially if he stalls in talks over a new deal and Liverpool should be aiming to bring him to Merseyside.
Dream Bellingham partner
Klopp’s admiration of Borussia Dortmund sensation Jude Bellingham is no secret, and with the club leading the chase for the youngster over Real Madrid, the German could form a dream midfield axis with the two Englishman.
Rice has impressed for West Ham this season, despite their Premier League struggles. He has averaged a rating of 7.27/10, ranking him first in David Moyes’ squad.
He also ranks first for pass success rate (90%) and assists (2), while proving his defensive importance by ranking second for tackles made (2.4) and interceptions made (1.6) per match.
It’s clear he is operating at an extremely high level; however, his potential deserves a team with a greater chance of success than West Ham, and Liverpool could be the ideal option.
Klopp’s side are undergoing a transitional season so far, way off the pace in the hunt for the league title, with their midfield needing urgently rejuvenated.
The likes of James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita are all out of contract next summer, plus loan signing Arthur Melo will return to Juventus, so the German could be horribly short of options in the centre of the pitch.
Bellingham praised Rice for their partnership with the national side, saying: “I’ve played with him a few times now for England and it’s been a pleasure. He allows me to do the things that I want to do with the ball, going forward, trying to get in and around the box, he gives you protection, so I think we complement each other very well.”
If Klopp can replicate this partnership at Liverpool, the duo could spur the club on to even more success in the future. Rice – who has been dubbed “unreal” by journalist Tommy Wathen previously – would be an ideal signing to revolutionise the Reds midfield.